By: Rev. Phil Tapp

The garden that my wife and I worked this season was largely unproductive, yielding a smattering of lettuce, some parsley, one tiny carrot, and a couple of small tomatoes as well as a few beets. This was despite Cindy’s diligent attention to watering and weeding. What went wrong? I thought we had used good planters mix – 8 yards of it this spring- I was sure that it would be good growing soil in place of our sandy soil out in Kiowa. We picked a spot that was semi-shaded by the house as we have seen the High Plains UV rays roast things in the past. Several spots in our yard regularly get torched no matter how much they are watered. So, our theory seemed sound to us to use more indirect light for growing…

For comparison, Cindy’s sister lives just up the street. She planted in full daylight and got a great yield, lots of cucumbers, and tomatoes. (Not quite as good a yield as our good friend Laurie Smith who had an impressive crop and shared with us, but it was particularly good nonetheless.) I am grateful to her for sharing with us and providing the basis for a spiritual example for me.

How often do I seek to avoid the light? Apparently, even in this example, things grow in what might be deemed by some (me included) to be harsh conditions. In reality, those plants thrived in those conditions. While there were other elements of gardening that were necessary the positioning in the light and therefore the heat turned out to be critical to growth. We, like those plants, must be willing to be under some pressure in order to be able to grow. Often, I fool myself into thinking that I need to be in more subdued light and have the pressure relieved, but just like my garden this year, I am not likely to get the results that I want by hanging where it is shady and easy. I need to be willing to sweat a bit in the pressure cooker if you will, even if it does require extra attention to detail so that I do not burn up, or rather, burn out.

I resolved to build our garden next year in an area where there is more direct light, and I commit to addressing those areas where I may not be willing to stand in the heat of difficulty and grow through it. I desire greater yield in our garden as well as my life. I am willing to take the heat! And so, I ask your friends: How did you grow in this growing season?